Other names: Antimitochondrial Antibody and Antimitochondrial M2 Antibody; Mitochondrial Antibody

The AMA test measures the levels of antimitochondrial antibodies in the bloodstream.

When is the test used?

The AMA test is used to help doctors diagnose a condition known as primary biliary cirrhosis (commonly known as PBC). PBC is an autoimmune condition, which means the body’s immune system effectively fights itself; in the case of PBC, the autoimmune response causes the bile ducts in the liver to be destroyed, which contributes to liver damage.

Doctors will usually advise patients to have the AMA test if they show symptoms or signs of PBC; these include jaundice, fatigue and an enlarged liver or spleen.

The doctor may also suggest a range of other tests, including albumin, bilirubin, IgM level, C-reactive protein and antinuclear antibodies (ANA).

How is the test performed?

The test is performed by collecting and analysing a sample of the blood; a needle is inserted into a vein in the arm (usually on the inside of the elbow) and the blood is collected in a syringe. Once the sample has been collected, it will be bottled, labelled with the patient’s name and sent away for analysis.

What does the test result mean?

High levels of AMA usually indicate that an individual has primary biliary cirrhosis; however the doctor may order further tests to ensure that the diagnosis is accurate.

Low levels of AMA may indicate that an individual has an autoimmune condition and further tests will usually be recommended.

Specific Blood Tests

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